Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chicken Down

A death of a chicken is discussed in this post. Please refrain from reading if you do not want to feel a little sad.

So, we lost our first chicken yesterday. Actually, I take that back. We had to get rid of a baby chick two years ago because it was running around pecking all the other chicks' eyes. We lost our first chicken due to causes beyond our control yesterday. Our flock of 14 decreased by one. This flock is pullets hatched in mid-spring. My frustration stems from that fact that I don't know what was wrong with the creature!

She was a Speckled Sussex, and she very well could have been the chicken that started laying the first eggs. Maybe she just wasn't ready? Is that possible? I noticed yesterday morning that she was lethargic and not interested in the grain and veggie treats that the other pullets were gobbling down. I checked again on her yesterday afternoon, and she was just standing in the shade not moving. I was able to catch and pick her up with no struggling. The other chickens would have given me a run for my money to catch them.

She seemed like she was, um, constipated. She kept pushing her little bottom, but nothing was coming out. I wanted to try to relieve that and try to get things moving. I soaked her for several minutes in a warm tub of water hoping to help something come out. Then, I called a friend who used to raise chickens on a commercial basis. He suggested an eye dropper of warm water mixed with Epsom salts. I didn't have the salts, so he said just regular salt - a saline solution. My mom and I were able to give her the water/salt solution, but that's when things went from bad to worse. Maybe we gave her too much? Maybe she was too plugged up to take anything into her digestive system? She went downhill very fast from that point on.

I did not want to see her suffer, and she obviously was. I made the executive decision, and my husband quickly put her out of her misery. None of my other chickens are showing signs of anything. I've done a little reading but have not come up with anything conclusive yet. Any of you have ideas? I would think she was a bit young to be egg bound, but maybe? Would producing eggs too early be something? How do you help a constipated chicken?

On a lighter note there were a few chicken butt jokes bandied about last night. I can speak with some authority on that now :)

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